Neighbours, the law and you - Your guide to neighbourhood laws in Victoria

 
Neighbours, the law and you - Your guide to neighbourhood laws in Victoria
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Neighbours,
the law
and you

Your guide to
neighbourhood
laws in Victoria
Neighbours, the law and you - Your guide to neighbourhood laws in Victoria
Your guide to                       Contents

neighbourhood
laws in Victoria
This guide gives information        Being a neighbour                                     4
on how to be a good neighbour,      Common neighbourhood problems                          6
and explains your rights and        Animals                                                6
responsibilities in relation to     Noise                                                 10
common issues that arise            Fences                                                14
between neighbours, such            Trees                                                 18
as animals, noise, fences and       Nuisance, including pollution                         20
                                    Land use and buildings                                22
trees.
                                    Resolving neighbourhood disputes                      24

This is one in a series of guides   Getting more help                                     26
on local laws published by
the Victoria Law Foundation.
Other titles are:
• Dogs, cats, neighbours and you
• Parking, the law and you
To download these free
publications or order a copy,
visit our website.

Find out more at...
www.
victorialaw
foundation.
org.au                              Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you
Neighbours, the law and you - Your guide to neighbourhood laws in Victoria
Being a neighbour
         It is important to know your legal                     For hints on
         responsibilities in order to avoid                    how to resolve
                                                               disputes, go to
         problems with your neighbours.                             p. 24

         Neighbourhood issues – the basics
         We all have the right to use and enjoy our property
         as we please as long as we follow the law and
         respect other people’s property. This applies to
         tenants as well as property owners.
         Living as a neighbour means that there will be
         times when what you do on your property will
         affect your neighbour, just as what your neighbour
         does can affect you.
         Constructively working out any problems together
         with your neighbour is the best way to maintain a
         good relationship with them so you can deal with
         any future issues.
         Whatever the problem, in most cases your best
         option is to try to resolve it by talking with your
         neighbour and sorting it out in a friendly and
         informal way. This approach is most likely to
         result in the best solution for you both.

The Reaching Agreement website (www.reachingagreement.
disputes.vic.gov.au), run by the Victorian government,
provides useful advice and resources.

4
Neighbours, the law and you - Your guide to neighbourhood laws in Victoria
Common
          neighbourhood
          problems
          This section covers common
          neighbourhood problems, the
          legal responsibilities involved
          and how you can resolve
          neighbourhood disputes.

          Animals
          Owners of pets and other animals are responsible
          for ensuring that they do not cause problems for
          their neighbours. For example, if you own a dog
          or cat you must make sure that they:
          • do not wander onto other people’s property
            without permission, and
          • do not make excessive noise or otherwise cause
            an unreasonable annoyance to your neighbours.

          Who is responsible for enforcing laws
          about pets?
          Local councils are largely responsible for making
          and enforcing laws relating to pets. If you have a
          problem or a question relating to a neighbour’s
          animals, or your own, check with your council
          to find out which laws apply in your local area.
          Councils can make laws in relation to a range of
          animals, including dogs, cats and birds. The types
          of laws that councils can make include:
          • how many animals you can keep
          • where pets can be located and are allowed to go
          • curfews and time restrictions for dogs and cats
          • the management of animal droppings.

More detailed information relating to dogs and cats can
be found in the Victoria Law Foundation companion
guide Dogs, cats, neighbours and you, available at
www.victorialawfoundation.org.au

6                                                              Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you   7
Neighbours, the law and you - Your guide to neighbourhood laws in Victoria
Common laws relating to dogs and cats
                                                       It is important to know about your legal obligations
                                                       regarding the registration of dogs and cats, where
                                                       they can go and how they can behave, as well as
                                                       your responsibilities if they harm people or their
                                                       property.

                                                       Registration
                                                       Dogs and cats must be registered each year with
                                                       the local council and must wear identification tags.

                                                       Wandering dogs and cats
                                                       If a dog or cat wanders onto your property without
                                                       permission on more than one occasion, it can be
                                                       seized by you or an authorised council officer. But
                                                       you should always try to talk to the owner of the
                                                       dog or cat and discuss your concerns with them
                                                       to give the owner a chance to fix the problem.
        Animals in rural areas                         Barking and other forms of nuisance
    As an animal owner and landholder in rural         If a neighbour’s dog or cat causes a nuisance, you
    Victoria, there are a number of prohibitions       may be able to complain about it to your council.
    and responsibilities you need to know about:       Nuisance can include excessive noise, or a dog
                                                       or cat that injures, or endangers the health of, a
    Wandering livestock                                person. Noise, such as barking, is only considered
    You must not allow any livestock to wander off     a nuisance if it is loud and persistent or occurs at
    your property. They can injure themselves and      unreasonable times.
    other animals, cause vehicle accidents and
    damage property. You can be liable for any         Resolving problems with animals
    harm your wandering animal has caused. Also,       If a neighbour’s dog, cat or other animal is causing
    in some circumstances an authorised council        you problems, the best thing to do is talk to your
    officer can impound wandering livestock.           neighbour about it. They may not realise what is
                                                       happening and may be able to take steps to fix the
    Pests and prohibited animals                       problem easily. If you still can’t resolve your issue
    You are responsible for controlling animal pests   then speak to your local council and ask them for
    like foxes and rabbits, and you are not allowed    assistance.
    to keep prohibited animals. See the Victorian
    Department of Environment and Primary              Making a formal complaint
    Industries’ website (www.dpi.vic.gov.au/           You can make a formal complaint to your local
    agriculture) for information about which           council if a neighbour’s animal is causing you
    animals are prohibited.                            problems. Generally, in order to make a complaint
                                                       about a dog’s or a cat’s behaviour it must be
    Disposal of carcasses                              unreasonable and persistent. If the animal’s
    You must properly dispose of animal carcasses,     behaviour is against the law, your council will
    including the carcasses of animals that have       be able to take action to resolve the issue.
    died during bushfires, floods or droughts.
                                                       Want more information?
    For more information about these issues, see       Visit your local council’s website for useful
    the relevant fact sheets on the Department of      information about keeping pets and other animals.
    Environment and Primary Industries’ website:
    www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture
8                                                      Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you     9
Neighbours, the law and you - Your guide to neighbourhood laws in Victoria
Resolving problems with noise
     Noise                                                     If your neighbour is making noise and it is not
     Noise is a normal part of living in urban and             allowed under the restrictions on page 13 then
     regional areas but it can cause conflict between          the best thing to do is to raise the issue with your
     neighbours. As a neighbour it is important to know        neighbour first and try to resolve it, but this may
     that if the noise is excessive or occurs at unusual       not always be possible.
     hours it might be illegal. Where you live and the
     zoning of your property will make a difference to         Making a formal complaint
     the laws that apply to you in relation to noise. If you   The organisation that you contact to make a
     live near a commercial zone or in a rural area, some      complaint will depend on the type of noise and
     noise from factory machinery or farm equipment            its source.
     will be unavoidable. In other areas, the basic rule
     is that neighbours must not interfere with each           Residential noise
     other’s health and wellbeing or make unreasonable         Residential noise comes from many different
     noise.                                                    sources, including loud parties, home renovations
                                                               and music. You can complain to your local council
     The table on page 13 outlines the times when
                                                               about unreasonable noise and noise that is
     certain types of residential noise are not allowed;
                                                               interfering with your health and wellbeing
     during these times, these types of noise will
                                                               (known as nuisance noise).
     automatically be considered unreasonable and
     prohibited. Different guidelines apply to                 If the problem is urgent, such as a loud party in the
     commercial noise.                                         early morning hours or where your neighbours are
                                                               being aggressive as well as noisy, you can call the
     It is important to note that even if certain types of
                                                               police for assistance. Both local council officers and
     noise are allowed under the table on page 13 they
                                                               police officers can direct people to stop making
     may still be considered unreasonable because of
                                                               unreasonable noise. These directions can stay
     the time, place or circumstances in which the noise
                                                               in force for up to 72 hours. If someone does not
     is being made or because of its volume, intensity or
                                                               comply with a council or police direction about
     duration.
                                                               noise, they can be given an on-the-spot fine for
                                                               breaking the law.
                                                               For more information about residential noise,
                                                               see the Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
                                                               publication Annoyed by noise? available from its
                                                               website: www.epa.vic.gov.au/your-environment/
                                                               noise/noise-publications
                                                               You can also contact your local council or visit their
                                                               website.

                                                                    For hints on
                                                                   how to resolve
                                                                   disputes, go to
                                                                        p. 24

10                                                             Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you      11
Neighbours, the law and you - Your guide to neighbourhood laws in Victoria
Commercial noise, including noise from                   Residential noise restrictions
     entertainment venues
     Indoor venue – When the disturbing noise is               Items                                    When you cannot
     coming from an indoor venue, such as a pub,                                                        use them
     restaurant or nightclub, you can make a complaint         A motor vehicle (except                  Monday to Friday:
     to either your local council or the police. The police    when moving in or out of                 8 pm–7 am
     have the power to require a venue to reduce the           your home), lawn mower or
     noise between midnight and 8 am.                                                                   Weekends and
                                                               other equipment with an
                                                                                                        public holidays:
     Large outdoor music event – If you are being              internal combustion engine
                                                                                                        8 pm–9 am
     affected by noise from a large outdoor music event,
     you can report it to the Environment Protection           An electric power tool,                  Monday to Friday:
     Authority (EPA), which enforces the noise limits          chainsaw, circular saw, gas              8 pm–7 am
     for these functions. See the EPA’s website                compressor, pneumatic
                                                                                                        Weekends and
     (www.epa.vic.gov.au) for more information.                power tool or hammer, or
                                                                                                        public holidays:
                                                               similar impacting or grinding
                                                                                                        8 pm–9 am
     Industry                                                  equipment
     For noise coming from industries, you can make a
                                                               A domestic air conditioner               Monday to Friday:
     complaint to the EPA. The EPA has the power to
                                                               or evaporative cooler, heat              10 pm–7 am
     investigate these kinds of complaints and enforce
                                                               pumps and other similar
     noise limits against industries. You can make a                                                    Weekends and
                                                               pumps, domestic heating
     complaint about this kind of noise by using the                                                    public holidays:
                                                               equipment and a domestic
     EPA Pollution Hotline: 1300 372 842.                                                               10 pm–9 am
                                                               vacuum cleaner
     Shops or small commercial premises                        A musical instrument and                 Monday to Thursday:
     If you have a problem with noise coming from              any amplified sound system,              10 pm–7 am
     shops or other small commercial premises near             including a stereo, radio,
     where you live, you should make a complaint                                                        Friday:
                                                               television and public address
     to your local council.                                                                             before 7 am and after 11 pm
                                                               system
                                                                                                        Saturday and
     Want more information?                                                                             public holidays:
     Go to the Victorian Environment Protection                                                         before 9 am and after 11 pm
     Authority’s website (www.epa.vic.gov.au) where
     you can also download useful publications about                                                    Sunday:
     noise (www.epa.vic.gov.au/your-environment/                                                        before 9 am and after 10 pm
     noise/noise-publications).                                Any electric equipment                   Monday to Friday:
                                                               or appliance not listed                  8 pm–7 am
                                                               above, including gardening
                                                                                                        Weekends and
                                                               equipment
                                                                                                        public holidays:
                                                                                                        8 pm–9 am

12                                                            Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you                 13
Neighbours, the law and you - Your guide to neighbourhood laws in Victoria
Fences
     Under the law, both you and your neighbour are
     responsible for the maintenance of a standard fence
     dividing your residential properties, and for the
     building of a new one.
     Neighbours are expected to come to an agreement
     regarding the building and maintenance of fences,
     and about who pays what proportion of the cost.

     Who is responsible for the cost of a fence?
     The law says that neighbours are jointly responsible
     for the building and maintaining of a fence dividing
     their properties. Generally, each neighbour must
     pay half the cost of the construction or repair of a
     standard fence. But there are exceptions, as the
     table on page 17 shows.

     Reaching agreements about building
     and repairing fences
     If you want to build a new fence or repair an old one
     – and you want a financial contribution from your        What if my neighbour does not agree to build
     neighbour – you should try to reach agreement            a new fence?
     with them about issues such as the type of fence,        If you and your neighbour cannot agree on the
     its location, the estimated cost and who will pay        construction of a new fence for which you are
     what.                                                    both responsible, you may give your neighbour
                                                              a Notice to Fence setting out:
     Where possible, you should give your neighbour
     time to think about these issues and the opportunity     • the location of the fence
     to plan for the cost of building or repairing a fence.   • the type of the fence

     Getting a quote                                          • the share of the cost each of you will pay.
     As part of trying to come to an agreement with           There is no form you need to use to give your
     your neighbour, it is useful to get a written quote      neighbour a Notice to Fence; a letter including
     from a fencing contractor regarding the cost of          the necessary details is enough.
     building or repairing the fence. If your neighbour
     agrees to the quote, to avoid later disputes you         If after a month of giving your neighbour a
     should both sign a copy of the quote and write on        Notice to Fence, you are still unable to agree on
     it the amount each of you has agreed to pay. If your     the construction of the fence, or on the kind of
     neighbour thinks the cost is too high, you should        fence and how much of the cost each of you will
     get another quote.                                       pay, you or your neighbour can take action in the
                                                              Magistrates’ Court to resolve the dispute. But this
     Resolving problems with fences                           can be expensive and time consuming and should
     Sometimes it may not be possible to come to              usually be a last resort.
     agreement with your neighbour about fencing
     issues and you may need to take further action.

14                                                            Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you   15
What if my neighbour does not agree to                 Who pays for building and repairing fences:
     maintain or repair a fence?                            exceptions to the general rule
     In the case of maintaining or repairing a fence,
     you can give your neighbour a notice setting out:       The situation                          Who pays what

     • which part of the fence is to be repaired             You want a more expensive              You should pay the extra
                                                             fence built                            amount
     • what repairs are to be done
                                                             You are a tenant with a                Your landlord should pay
     • the estimated cost of the repairs.                    lease that has less than               your half share of the cost
     If you receive a notice to repair and you think the     three years to run on it
     repairs are too expensive, you should immediately       You are a tenant with a                You will have to contribute
     discuss it with your neighbour and get another          lease that has three or                to the cost of the fence
     quote. If that does not resolve the problem, you can    more years to run on it
     go to the Magistrates’ Court to resolve the dispute.
     The court will then decide how much you have to         Your property borders land             You will generally be
     pay for the repairs.                                    owned by the federal or                responsible for the full
                                                             state government                       cost of the fence
     Want more information?
     The Victorian Parliament’s Fencing Quick Guide          The fence will divide                  Farmers only have to pay
     provides a summary of fencing law. Visit www.           farming and residential                half the cost of a fence that
     parliament.vic.gov.au/lawreform/inquiries/              properties                             suits their needs (usually
     article/1659                                                                                   an agricultural fence)

     Fitzroy Legal Service’s online Law Handbook             You have damaged a fence               You must pay the entire
     discusses fencing law.                                  intentionally or by being              cost of repairing or
     Visit www.lawhandbook.org.au                            negligent                              replacing the fence
     The industry website Fencing Online provides            A fence has been                       Both neighbours share
     useful information, especially on fencing               accidentally damaged or                the cost of repairing or
     contractors and notices to fence.                       has deteriorated naturally             replacing the fence
     Visit www.fencingonline.com.au
                                                             You make urgent repairs to             You can generally get back
     A ‘Fencing Disputes Information Sheet’ and              a fence                                some of the cost of the
     the form for fence-dispute complaints are                                                      repairs from your neighbour
     available from the Magistrates’ Court website:
     www.magistratescourt.vic.gov.au                         You have built a fence                 You must pay the entire
                                                             without consulting your                cost of the fence
     Note that the Victorian government is                   neighbour
     considering reforming fencing law in Victoria.
     Visit www.justice.vic.gov.au for more information.

                                                                 For hints on
                                                                how to resolve
                                                                disputes, go to
                                                                     p. 24

16                                                          Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you                     17
Trees
             Most disputes about trees involve overhanging
             branches or roots reaching onto a neighbour’s
             property. These can cause damage to property
             and injury to people.
             You and your neighbour’s rights concerning trees
             will depend on the planning schemes and local laws
             relating to trees in your area. Councils have local laws
             and planning schemes that cover issues such as:
             • trees overhanging the footpath – generally only
               allowed over a certain height as specified by
               the council
             • tree protection schemes – some councils specify
               that certain significant trees or trees over a
               certain size cannot be cut without permission
             • nature-strip and parkland trees – generally,
               residents are not permitted to prune these trees.
             In some areas, a council permit is required to prune
             overhanging branches or roots that are coming
             onto your land from a neighbour’s property. Your           Resolving issues with trees
             local council will be able to tell you whether or not      If you and your neighbours are unable to come to
             you need a permit.                                         agreement on how to manage trees on each of your
                                                                        properties, you may be able to make a formal
             If you do not need a permit, then you will usually be
                                                                        complaint to your local council.
             entitled to cut off branches and to dig up roots that
             are reaching onto your property. However, if you do        If your local council considers that your neighbour
             want to prune any branches or dig up any roots of a        is breaking local laws regarding trees overhanging
             neighbour’s tree you:                                      a footpath, protected trees, nature-strip trees or
                                                                        parkland trees, they can issue a notice requiring
             • cannot enter your neighbour’s property without
                                                                        them to comply with relevant laws.
               permission
                                                                        Local councils do not handle disputes about trees
             • must only prune or cut back the branches or
                                                                        that are overhanging private property. These
               roots that are on your property
                                                                        disputes must be resolved privately by you and
             • must not cause any unnecessary damage to                 your neighbour. The Dispute Settlement Centre
               the tree.                                                of Victoria offers free help to resolve these kinds
                                                                        of disputes. Visit www.disputes.vic.gov.au for
                                                                        more information.
         Clearing vegetation in rural areas
     If you believe that trees or vegetation on your neighbour’s        Want more information?
     property are a bushfire risk, contact your Country Fire            Most local council websites contain useful
     Authority Community Safety Officer or your council’s               information about planning schemes and local laws
     Municipal Fire Prevention Officer. They can assess the risk        regarding trees.
     and if necessary issue fire prevention notices requiring           Also see the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria website:
     vegetation to be cleared. For more information, visit the          www.magistratescourt.vic.gov.au
     Victorian Department of Planning and Community
     Development website: www.dpcd.vic.gov.au

18                                                                      Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you    19
Public nuisance
     Nuisance, including pollution                            If you are affected by what you think is a public
     Apart from noise, there are many other kinds of          nuisance, you can make a complaint to your local
     pollution and nuisance that can interfere with           council. Local councils are required as far as
     a neighbour’s health and wellbeing and the               reasonably possible to fix all public nuisances
     enjoyment of their property. These include:              within their districts.
     • smoke from burning off                                 If the council does not take action within a
                                                              reasonable time, you can take your own action in
     • bad odours from uncollected rubbish                    the Magistrates’ Court at your own cost. Before
     • damaged drainage or water run-offs from a              taking any legal action, always seek legal advice.
       neighbour’s property
                                                              Private nuisance
     • unhygienic enclosures for birds or other animals       If you are affected by what you consider to be a
     • buildings or other structures that are in disrepair.   private nuisance you can take court action against
                                                              your neighbour. But court action can be expensive
     The type of activity and its impact will determine       and should be a last resort. Before taking court
     whether it is considered a public or private             action you should get legal advice.
     nuisance. This is important because it affects
     what steps you take to solve your problem. Under         Want more information?
     Victorian law, a public nuisance is a problem            The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria operates
     that endangers a person’s health, is offensive           in several metropolitan locations as well as
     or seriously disrupts a person’s comfort. Public         throughout regional Victoria. The Court’s website
     nuisances tend to relate to issues that have an          (www.magistratescourt.vic.gov.au) contains
     impact on a larger number of people. For example,        information about going to court, as well as court
     smoke from the burning of rubber products on a           locations and contact details, forms and fees.
     neighbouring property could amount to a public
     nuisance.
     Private nuisances tend to affect an individual or
     a small group directly. They are substantial and
     persistent interferences with your property or your
     enjoyment of it. There will always be some level
     of interference wherever you live so only a limited
     number of situations will be considered a private
     nuisance. See Fitzroy Legal Service’s online
     Law Handbook: www.lawhandbook.org.au                                                                     Burn-offs on
                                                                                                              rural land
     Resolving problems with nuisance
     If you are affected by a nuisance and you are                                                       For information about
     unable to resolve it yourself, then you may be able                                                 burn-offs on private land
     to make a formal complaint to your local council                                                    during Fire Season and at
     or take action yourself in court. You need to know                                                  other times, see ‘Burning
     whether your complaint falls within public or                                                       off regulations: your
     private nuisance as this will have an impact on                                                     questions answered’,
     the next steps you take.                                                                            available on the Victorian
                                                                                                         Department of
                                                                                                         Environment and Primary
                                                                                                         Industries’ website:
                                                                                                         www.dpi.vic.gov.au

20                                                            Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you                     21
Land use and buildings
     Disputes between neighbours sometimes arise
     because of what a neighbour is doing on their land
     or what they are building on it. For example, your
     neighbour might be repairing a fibreglass boat in
     their backyard, giving off harmful fumes, or putting
     up a new shed that will block out the natural light
     in your kitchen.
     To regulate land use, local councils sometimes
     require planning permits for residential or business
     developments. Business permits to run certain
     businesses are also sometimes required by councils
     or other organisations.
     If your neighbour is using their residential property
     for business purposes, and it is causing a nuisance
     to you, you may want to check with your local
     council whether any permits apply to that activity.

     Want more information?
     Local council websites contain useful information
     on planning and business permits and about local
     laws regarding land use and buildings.
     Building Commission: www.buildingcommission.
     com.au
     Department of Planning and Community
     Development’s Planning Schemes Online:
     planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au

22                                                           Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you   23
Resolving
     neighbourhood
     disputes
     Talking to your neighbour can
     help you to resolve problems
     before they become too serious.

     Hints on resolving
     neighbourhood disputes
     Talking with your neighbour
     When talking with your neighbour, consider your
     neighbour’s point of view and accommodate any
     differences, such as your background, working
     hours or stage of life. Always keep your
     conversations informal and friendly and focus
     on the problem you want to resolve.

     Making a formal complaint to your
     local council
     If talking with your neighbour does not fix
     the problem, perhaps try mediation through
     the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria
     (www.disputes.vic.gov.au). If this still does not
     resolve your dispute, you could consider making
     a formal complaint to your local council. Your
     local council website provides useful information
     on how to make formal complaints about a range
     of neighbourhood issues and about how your
     council can respond to them.

     Seeking legal advice and taking
     legal action
     If talking with your neighbour, mediation and
     council action have not resolved your neighbourhood
     dispute, you could consider getting legal advice
     to see if you have a case that you could pursue
     in the courts.
     But remember that taking legal action is often
     uncertain, costly and time consuming, and is likely
     to permanently damage your relationship with your
     neighbour. It is almost always a last resort.
     The Getting more help (p. 26) section of this
     booklet contains useful information on resolving
     disputes, local councils and getting legal advice.
24
Getting more help
     There are a number of
     organisations that can help
     you with neighbourhood
     issues and disputes.

     If you need to resolve a neighbourhood dispute, or
     want information about how to make a complaint,
     there are a number of bodies that can help you.

     Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria
     The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria has
     offices throughout the state. They assess disputes,
     give advice about them and can refer you to other       Legal help
     appropriate services. The centre also offers free
     and confidential mediation in which independent         Victoria Legal Aid
     people with experience resolving disputes can help      Victoria Legal Aid helps people with their legal
     you and your neighbour find a mutually acceptable       problems, focusing on helping people on low
     solution to your problems.                              incomes and those experiencing disadvantage.
                                                             You can call Legal Help for free information, legal
     [ 03 9603 8370                                          advice or other help over the phone. You can speak
     [ 1800 658 528 (free call)                              to someone in English or in your own language.
     0 www.disputes.vic.gov.au                               You can also find legal answers, order free
                                                             publications and watch videos about the law
     Local Government Victoria                               on the Victoria Legal Aid website.
     If you do not know which local council to speak         [ 1300 792 387
     to about a problem with a neighbour, Local
     Government Victoria can help you find out. Also,        0 www.legalaid.vic.gov.au
     their website has links to Victorian local council
     websites.                                               Law Institute of Victoria
                                                             Hiring a private lawyer can be the best option in
     [ 1300 366 356                                          some circumstances. A good place to start is the
     0 www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/localgovernment                   Law Institute of Victoria. It provides referrals to
                                                             lawyers across Victoria. Law firms included in the
     Environment Protection Authority                        referral service provide a free 30-minute inquiry
     (Victoria)                                              interview. You can also access the referral service
     The Environment Protection Authority (Victoria),        by downloading the LIV App from the Law
     more commonly known as the EPA, is an                   Institute of Victoria website or the iTunes Store.
     organisation responsible for protecting the             [ 03 9607 9550
     environment in Victoria. The Environment
     Protection Authority’s role is to regulate pollution,   0 www.findyourlawyer.com.au
     including noise from industry, smoke and odours.
     [ 1300 372 842                                            Translating and
     0 www.epa.vic.gov.au                                      Interpreting Service (TIS)
                                                               [		 131 450
                                                               0		 www.immi.gov.au/tis
26                                                                                                                 27
Community legal centres
     There are many community legal centres in           Notes
     Victoria. They provide legal information, initial
     advice and, in some cases, ongoing help. The
     Federation of Community Legal Centres can
     refer you to the most appropriate centre for
     your situation.
     [ 03 9652 1500
     0 www.communitylaw.org.au

     Resources
     Victoria Law
     Easy-to-understand resources about popular legal
     topics, in English and other languages.
     0 www.victorialaw.org.au
     Fitzroy Legal Service’s online
     Law Handbook
     The Law Handbook is a useful practical resource
     that covers in more detail the law in Victoria
     relating to a number of neighbourhood issues,
     including animals, noise, fences and trees.
     0 www.lawhandbook.org.au

28                                                       Victoria Law Foundation Neighbours, the law and you   29
Notes
                     Have a legal
                       problem?
                            These useful
                             publications
                            may help you

                                  Available as PDF only

                  Order a copy or download at
             www.victorialawfoundation.org.au
30
“By providing valuable
 educational resources,
 Victoria Law Foundation
 continues to play an
 important role in breaking
 down the barriers between
 the media and legal sector.”
John Silvester
Senior writer – law and
justice, The Age

Accurate at June 2013
© Victoria Law Foundation, 2013
ISBN 978 0 987 33037 6
PUB11-01
First published 2000
Sixth edition 2013
Photographs: Cover © Getty Images; p. 5 © Shutterstock; p. 7 © Corbis
Images; p. 8 © Morgue File; p. 10 © Getty Images; p. 15 © iStockphoto;
p. 19 © iStockphoto; p. 21 © iStockphoto; p. 23 © Shutterstock; p. 25
Fairfax Syndication; p. 27 © Shutterstock
Disclaimer: This publication is a guide only. While due care has been
taken to ensure the accuracy of the material contained in this publication,
Victoria Law Foundation cannot take responsibility for any errors,
nor do the references and web links to products and services of other
organisations constitute endorsement.

Victoria Law Foundation helps Victorians
understand the law and their legal system.
We are a not-for-profit organisation funded by
the Legal Services Board Public Purpose Fund.
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